Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Muslims Want Graham Barred from Capitol Hill Prayer Event
- Egypt Court Refuses to Change Twins' Birth Certificates
- Clinton Urged to Protect 'Fragile' Christian Minority in Iraq
- Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Desert Cross
Muslims Want Graham Barred from Capitol Hill Prayer Event
Religion News Service reports that just, days after evangelist Franklin Graham was disinvited from a Pentagon observance of the National Day of Prayer, a Muslim organization has asked members of Congress to follow suit. Corey Saylor, national legislative director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, questioned Graham's inclusion in a Capitol Hill event on May 6 because of his past statements that Islam is an "evil and wicked religion." John Bornschein, executive director of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, the host of the Capitol Hill observance, also said that Graham will be there. "Although the Pentagon has rescinded Franklin Graham's invitation to speak at their event, he will still be the keynote speaker at the national observance in Washington, D.C., at the Cannon House Office Building," Bornschein said in a statement. President Obama told Franklin Graham he would "look into" the Pentagon slight.
Egypt Court Refuses to Change Twins' Birth Certificates
ASSIST News Service reports that two boys in Egypt are not ready to relinquish the public case for their faith despite a recent ruling. Camilia Lutfi, the 15-year-old twin boys' mother, filed suit against the Interior Minister and the director of the Civil Status Department for refusing to re-instate the Christian religion on their birth certificates after the boys' father converted to Islam. Mario and Andrew's religion on their birth certificates was forcibly changed to "Islam" in 2005. If their faith is not reflected on new birth certificates by June, when the boys turn 16, they will have to permanently carry "Islam" on their ID cards. According to their mother, if they continue to practice their Christian faith after that, they will be regarded as apostates. Converts from Islam may face severe recrimination in Egypt.
Clinton Urged to Protect 'Fragile' Christian Minority in Iraq
The Christian Post reports that the National Council of Churches and its partners have appealed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to help protect Iraq's Christian minority. The letter, also addressed to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, cited the region's violent recent history. "Christians in Iraq have suffered more than a dozen violent deaths so far this year," the letter states. "Our concern is now particularly acute because it is possible that tensions will increase as various political forces continue to vie for power following the recent elections." The letter also pointed to the "growing climate of mistrust and animosity" that may upset recent gains in security. The letter comes days after Christians in northern Iraq erected a statue of Jesus, modeled after Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, despite increasing attacks by extremists.
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Desert Cross
Christian Newswire reports that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the continued display of a lone cross in the Mojave Desert memorializing veterans of World War I. Yesterday's 5 - 4 majority opinion affirmed that the cross does not violate the First Amendment's establishment clause, contrary to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals previous ruling. Faith and Action, a Washington, DC-based Christian mission to government officials, had joined with other groups in support of the display located near Barstow, California. Rev. Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action, had visited the cross last year. He said, "This is a victory for the First Amendment and for the rights of citizens, including veterans, to use meaningful symbols like the cross in public displays. It's not just common sense, it's in keeping with our most cherished beliefs, customs and values. This is a day to thank God for our freedoms in this country and for judges that have the integrity to uphold them."